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Philadelphia

NEA Educators For Palestine Call On Union To Un-Endorse Biden

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Hundreds of educators held a pro-Palestine rally outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia on July 3. They were participating in the National Education Association Representative Assembly, where they planned to introduce 10 New Business items (NBIs) involving education around Palestine, U.S. military spending in support of Israel, support for boycotts targeting Israel  and solidarity with Palestinian unions and with teachers in the U.S. engaged in protests against the genocide in Gaza. The rally was called by NEA Educators for Palestine, who are also pushing the U.S.’s largest teachers’ union to hold a secret ballot vote to rescind its endorsement of President Joe Biden.

In Philly, The People’s Budget Increases Civic Engagement And Moves Money

If you’ve walked through LOVE Park during May and June the last two years, you have undoubtedly seen a long shipping container anchored in the northwest corner of JFK Plaza, a cherry-red beacon sitting in the shadow of Philadelphia’s historic City Hall. Part public art installation and part information center, the corten steel box is the temporary office of The People’s Budget, one piece of an initiative led by artist Phoebe Bachman of Mural Arts of Philadelphia, and funded by the City of Philadelphia. Founded in 2020, The People’s Budget empowers Philadelphians to participate in the city’s yearly budget process and join the conversation to decide where city funds are spent.

Philadelphia’s Reforestation Hub Isn’t Just Diverting Tree Waste

Each year, U.S. cities lose an estimated 36 million trees to development, disease and old age, many of which ultimately end up in landfills. Losing these urban trees – known to help cool their neighborhoods, lower carbon emissions and improve mental health, among other benefits – costs an estimated $96 million annually. In Philadelphia, a partnership is giving the City of Brotherly Love’s fallen trees new life. Philadelphia Parks & Rec joined forces with Cambium Carbon, a Washington, D.C.-based startup that repurposes waste wood, and PowerCorpsPHL, a local nonprofit that creates job opportunities for unemployed and under-employed 18- to 30-year-olds, to launch the Reforestation Hub in late May.

Philly Health Workers Say: ‘Bombing Hospitals Is A War Crime!’

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Philly Health Care Workers for Palestine (HCWL4Pal Philly), Families for Ceasefire, Drexel University Medical Students for Palestine, and the Philly Palestine Coalition gathered at Seger Park, just blocks away from Philadelphia’s Independence Hall on May 19. The purpose of the rally and march was to emphasize their unwavering support for health care workers in Gaza. Preparation for the event included art builds and securing speakers who could talk about the ongoing genocide and how it is has decimated the health care system in Gaza, targeting doctors, nurses and aid workers with unspeakable atrocities.

Drexel Students Set Up Palestine Encampment, Call For Divestment

Philadelphia, PA — Students at Drexel University established an encampment in support of divesting from Israel on May 18, following a rainy Nakba Day commemoration march from Center City that started around 4 p.m. Philadelphia and Drexel police officers quickly surrounded the encampment with a ring of metal barricades and largely barred additional people from entering; this was apparently at the orders of Drexel’s campus police chief. There was a brief struggle over the metal barricade components, and at one point an officer brandished a Taser at the crowd but was pulled back by another, shortly after our reporters got onsite. As of late Monday the encampment was still in place.

UPenn Students Arrested At Palestine Demo After Building Occupation

Philadelphia, PA – Nearly twenty University of Pennsylvania students and supporters were arrested after briefly occupying Fisher-Bennett Hall along 34th Street Friday night. Officers including UPenn’s Emergency Response Teams worked to shove hundreds of pro-Palestine demonstrators away from what they renamed Refaat Alareer Hall. (Alareer was a prominent Gaza professor killed by Israel late last year.) UPenn has also been a site of rallies against Ghost Robotics, an incubator spinoff company that has fast become a key world supplier of military robots including for Israel. We heard that the action was an extension of the UPenn protest encampment organizing that was swept by police action a week earlier, and was aimed at forcing UPenn to divest from companies that do business with Israel.

Penn For Palestine Encampment Still Going Strong

Joining around 80 college campuses across the United States, University of Pennsylvania students, faculty and staff established a Penn for Palestine encampment on the campus April 25 to demand: the administration disclose what companies they have invested billions of endowment funds in and that they divest from any that do business with Israel. Earlier in the day, demonstrators marched from Philadelphia City Hall, led by students from Temple University and activists with the Philadelphia Palestine Coalition to UPenn. En route to UPenn, several hundred people marched through Center City and received an overwhelmingly positive and supportive response from people along the route.

Hundreds March In Philadelphia To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Philadelphia on April 24 to demand freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal. That day the world-renowned political prisoner turned 70 years old. Mumia Abu-Jamal has spent over 42 years in prison, including 29 years on death row, for a crime he didn’t commit. He was framed for the 1981 killing of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. People gathered on the south side of Philadelphia’s City Hall in front of the statue of Octavius Catto. The Black educator and freedom fighter was assassinated by a racist in 1871 when Catto was 32 years old.

Philly Is Giving Free SEPTA Rides To 25,000 Low-Income Residents

Getting to where you need to go is a matter of economic and social justice. Now, low-income Philadelphia residents are getting a boost. In August, the city began a two-year Zero Fare pilot program, distributing 25,000 SEPTA Key cards (valued at $204 each) for unlimited free rides — and the majority of participants don’t need to take any action to enroll. “Transportation has been identified as a barrier for folks seeking employment, especially in Philadelphia, because of the high poverty rate,” says Nicola Mammes, Zero Fare program director. Over 20% of Philadelphians live below the poverty line, and 50% of those households don’t own a car.

When You’re Unsheltered, ‘Public Safety’ Doesn’t Include You

I’m going to tell you something you already know: Every human being is entitled to a roof over their head and a place to sleep at night. This is an indisputable truth, part of the catechism of humanistic virtue. In a world that lived up to its self-professed ideals of opportunity, any condition of homelessness would be rare, brief and non-recurring. The reality is cultural attitudes toward impoverished people – fueled by toxic portrayals, fear mongering in the media and systematic dehumanization – have made homelessness not a community problem to be solved, but an individual offense to be punished, and defines those who suffer this condition as enemies to the idyllic peace of ‘good (read: housed and well-fed) people’.

Mumia Turns 70 On April 24

Political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal will turn 70 on April 24.  This important life milestone will be observed in Philadelphia with an afternoon demonstration outside City Hall and District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office.  Also, 1,000 petitions, collected in France, will be delivered to Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro’s satellite office, demanding that Mumia be released to rejoin his family and to seek necessary medical care. An evening indoor gathering will be held at the historic Waters Memorial AME Church at 11th and South streets.

Philadelphia: Workers March For Palestine, Protest Militarized Robots

Philadelphia, PA — On Saturday, April 13, local groups protested Israel’s war on Gaza, which has killed 33,000 Palestinians according to the latest figures. The march gathered in Clark Park. Organizers say that workers and unions are sending the message today. The Philly Palestine Coalition says groups involved include the Labor for Black Lives Coalition, Healthcare Workers for Palestine, Philly IWW, TNG Local 10/CWA Local 38010, SEIU Healthcare PA, Unity Caucus, Philly Tenants Union, & Workers World Party. According to the post, “Our goal is clear: to stand in unwavering solidarity with Palestinian workers and communities.

As States Limit Black History Lessons, Philly Gets It Right

The culture war in education that began in response to the protests that followed the murder of George Floyd in 2020 has had a chilling effect on how race is discussed in classrooms. Since January 2021, 44 states have introduced bills and at least 18 have passed laws restricting or banning the teaching of supposed critical race theory. Just 12 states (Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington) have Black history mandates for K-12 public schools. In addition, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine and Rhode Island have legislated Black history courses or electives during the last two years. But several of the 12 states have new laws on the books that limit their curriculum.

In Chinatown, A Community Envisions Alternatives To Sixers Arena

Joy. While it’s been a contentious 18 months of protests, marching, and debating about a proposed new basketball arena in Philadelphia’s Center City, for at least one Saturday morning, an urban planning and design discussion about the proposed arena location brought some joy to the conversation. At the Center for Architecture in Philly, just a few blocks from the site of the proposed arena, about a hundred people gathered on Jan. 27 to brainstorm alternative uses for the site. The public workshop was organized by the Save Chinatown Coalition, an alliance of 245 organizations from Chinatown and around the city who oppose the new arena because they fear its proximity to Chinatown will disrupt and displace the community.

Philly Used Its Franchise Agreement To Win Internet Access For All

How is it that internet carriers like Spectrum came to dominate service in New York City, while others like Xfinity reign supreme in cities like Minneapolis? While residents are familiar with the major internet providers in their cities, they’re less familiar with the agreements that brought them there. Across the country, internet access often reaches homes through the public right of way — the edges of privately owned land under which public lines are laid. Utility providers of everything from water to electricity and internet use these lines to deliver their services to customers. To use these public lines, internet providers from Comcast to Cox enter franchise agreements with local governments.
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